`German suspect in Pope visit shooting released`

A man detained for firing shots from an air gun about one kilometre from where Pope Benedict XVI was to celebrate mass in Germany has been released.

Berlin: A man detained for firing shots from
an air gun about one kilometre from where Pope Benedict XVI
was to celebrate mass in Germany has been released, police
said on Sunday.

The incident sparked a minor security scare in the
eastern city of Erfurt yesterday two hours before the
84-year-old pontiff was to deliver a sermon to 28,000, on the
third day of a first state visit to his native Germany.

A police spokesman said the 30-year-old suspect from
Berlin admitted to firing four shots from an air gun at guards
working for security firm deployed for the visit and was later
released.

A female guard was hit in the leg with a shot but
uninjured.

Media reports said the man had been annoyed with tough
security measures during the pontiff`s stay, when residents
were told to keep their windows shut and a large part of the
city centre was closed.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said it was "an
incident that had nothing to do with the pope" and that
Benedict was not informed.

Security for the four-day visit has been extremely tight.
Large parts of Berlin, Erfurt and the southwestern city
of Freiburg where the pope celebrated mass before 100,000
today have faced a police lockdown.

PTI

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